Ailing Halep battles past Dodin in Miami

Simona Halep claimed a third-round place at the Miami Open on Thursday, but only after a hard-fought three-set battle with Oceane Dodin.

Simona Halep takes on Oceane Dodin at the Miami Open   -  Getty Images

World number one Simona Halep survived a scare in the second round of the Miami Open as she came from behind to beat lucky loser Oceane Dodin 3-6 6-3 7-5.

Halep received treatment on her neck and she struggled to match her opponent's strength for long periods before consistency and class finally told in a tense third set, despite the ailing top seed also appearing to turn her right ankle.

Dodin, ranked 98th, aggressively attacked Halep's serve but the joy she found there was offset by a failure to make her own service games count, the Frenchwoman's 16 double faults significantly aiding her Romanian opponent's cause.

Victory was finally claimed in over two hours, a tiring Dodin outlasted despite a valiant battle.

Halep was broken in her first service game and, although she quickly hit back to level at 2-2, the three-time grand slam finalist trailed again when Dodin powered through a tame second serve shortly afterwards.

Dodin spurned two set points in a seesaw ninth game in which Halep threatened to break back, only to surrender the set by finding the net.

The favourite sought a swift response and broke early in the second, yet her struggle for momentum continued when Dodin broke back to love, measuring a wonderful forehand into the corner of the court.

An impressive hold followed, too, and she again responded when Halep looked have edged in front at 4-2.

But the 21-year-old finally paid the price for her series of double faults and conceded the initiative once more, Halep making no mistake this time in forcing a decider.

The twists and turns continued into the third as the pair twice traded breaks in quick succession, before Halep finally shook off her challenger and clinched the final game to love.

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